Hello, Jesse. I’m Jacob Fentress.
I’m a front-end web developer in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a passion for well-crafted interfaces—design and code. My desire is to work on things that make a difference in people’s lives; things that help them learn, help them grow, help them improve their lives—work and play—in meaningful ways. Frankly, I care. I care about my code and about the value of the things I code. I want to work with folks who also care about these things, and I would love to work with you.
But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you a bit about my background.
I’ve been accidentally building websites for a decade. Accidentally, because this was nowhere on my radar in school. After graduating from Belmont University in 2003 (summa cum laude) I started producing a talk-radio show. On my first day, they asked if I’d ever worked on websites because they had a page they needed me to keep updated. I started reading up on how to do this stuff and just couldn’t stop. Soon, my full-time job was running and building websites. I spent five years at a small non-profit, where I was the web guy, and worked another five years at a large company, where I supervised a team of nine who handled all of our web design and front-end development. Now, I’m out on my own as the founder of a small web studio.
Things you might like to know about me
- I’ve been married nine years and have two wonderful kids. Family is very important, which is good because we have quite a bit of it around here. This makes working remotely a very appealing choice. I’d like to stay near my family, but still work with some top-notch people in the industry.
- I like to work in my garden and build things with my hands. My last major project was a 14-foot bookshelf behind a spiral staircase. Next up, a bench for my kitchen.
- I have a background in theatrical design and production—lights, sets, audio. This is where I think I really learned the values of craft, creative problem solving, and melding the technical with the artistic.
- Currently, I’m doing web projects as Guerilla Labs. You should take a look at our github page to get a sense of some things we’re working on. You’ll find several older jQuery plugins, but I want to specifically point out Air-Drop—a SASS-based framework and project template. There is a lot in Air-Drop borrowed from other places and a lot we wrote specifically to fit our needs. It is shaping up to be a really helpful tool. Also, the Guerilla Labs site is built in Jekyll.
- SASS has been a big interest. I love how it can make writing CSS more efficient and consistent across a project. There are two mixins that I’m particularly proud of lately. One helps with backward-compatibility with media queries. It writes the CSS that IE8 and below need without requiring the developer to write any additional code. The other mixin generates CSS for a custom grid, which is identical to the CSS that the Gridset app generates (this mixin was created with the blessing of the Gridset team). It is probably the most complex thing I’ve done in SASS.
- I love that our industry is built on sharing ideas and techniques. While I worry that the barrier to entry is much higher than it was when I started on the web, I’m so glad that new people can enter, get guidance from seasoned veterans, and start creating amazing things. I recently started using CodePen as a laboratory to try out and share new code. It also houses a lot of the examples used in the classes I teach.
- Through Guerilla Labs, I send out a fluid email newsletter that links to a lot of web geekery. It’s called Propaganda.
- Part of my team at LifeWay (I left this position in the fall) is working on a responsive rebuild of LifeWay.com. It’s a fairly large ecommerce site, and I feel that we are doing some very good, trail-blazing work (there aren’t a lot of responsive ecommerce sites out there). With this build, we’re taking a modular approach with our components and have been heavily influenced by Jonathan Snook’s SMACSS.
- There are a lot of other, newer projects that I cannot post to my site, yet and older projects that I would rather talk through in person—some are offline, some changed drastically from what I handed off and some I am ashamed of. They include things like a large charity site/application, implementing a CMS and training our writers to use Markdown as their editing environment—in early 2006.
Some things I’m spending more time on right now
- ARIA Roles
- new CSS layout modules: flexbox, grid
Let’s work together
I think we could do some great work together. Send me a message through email or Twitter, and we’ll chat.
Thank you for your time.